The Pluto water droplet photography trigger is one of my favorite accessories.

I’m A Nerd

Macro photography is one of my favorite formats. Perhaps it has something to do with… as a child, I had a microscope. I asked for it as a Christmas of birthday gift. And, my mother was good in enabling my scientific discoveries. I had other toys, but I wanted a microscope. I digress in defending the fact that I’ve always been a nerd..

Seeing This Close Up

My point is that I’ve always enjoyed looking at things closeup. So, it’s no wonder that I’m drawn to taking pictures of things close up, showing views of things that people don’t usually see. One of those things was drops of water as they collide with each other.

DIY Droplets

I set out to capture the drops, but I had no idea how I was going to create the water drops. So I researched and found that they sold machines and droppers that hooked to the camera. They were nice. With it you could control the size of the drops, and the timing. That’s what I needed! At $400 They were a little pricey for a project shoot that I would occasionally use. So I set out to build my own.

I ended up with a very crude setup, a frame build from 2×4’s and a plastic bottle with a water balloon filler valve attached. I had to do something to slow the water flow to create drops. So, I used pieces of rag. It worked great. It created drops, but only single drops. So I wasn’t going to get the collisions I was looking for. But, I could get some interesting splashes.

Good But Not Great

Since there was nothing to control auto trigger the camera in this setup – I had to use a remote trigger and try and time it manually. It worked and I literally filled an SD card with about 1000 shots.

Water droplet splash photography

One Drop Wasn’t Enough

I liked the pictures, but I still wanted to find a way to get a 2nd drop to collide with the splash. Despite my efforts with my water bottle valve, I couldn’t get it to work. Still not wanting to spend $400, I gave up. Until one day I saw an ad on Facebook or Instagram for the Pluto water droplet photography trigger. This trigger caught my attention, because I love gadgets. And, it had a variety of triggering methods (sound, light, infrared, lightning).

Pluto To The Rescue

As I looked at the list of features on their website, I noticed that it also had a Droplet feature – but it required a separate Pluto Valve. Serendipity is my favorite word, and this was truly a serendipitous situation. The price of trigger was $120, not crazy expensive.. So, I could get the trigger with all it’s features – and for and additional $40 I could shoot my drop collisions… all for well under the $400 for a machine with a singular function.

Full Featured Trigger

When the trigger arrived, I tested out all the features. There’s an app that allows you to control the trigger with your smartphone. Outside of testing, the first real thing I was going to shoot with this thing was my drop collisions. So, I set it up with the plan of shooting the next day. I physically set it up, positioning the flash and the valve based on a photo in the quick setup guide on the Pluto Trigger website. I followed the directions in the guide to set the flash interval, the drop size, and the drop timing. It was completely automated. The trigger would instruct the valve to drop the water, then fire the flash and trigger the camera shutter at the right time to capture the collisions… all with the touch of one button on my phone.

It was great! I had to do some some tweaking of the drop sizes, etc to create the collisions, but in the end – I got the shots I had pretty much given up on.

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